Book Review: Janaka and Ashtarvakra – A Journey Beyond by Ashraf Karayath

My favorite genre while choosing the right book has always been mythology and ancient eras. I have had always been the curious George about myths, fancies and gods. Apart from that my latest realization and interest in spirituality has drawn me to read a bit in this respect as well. With Janak and Ashtarvakra: A Journey Beyond, I came across a point of satisfaction as it delivered both the genres in a very well written form to me.

Till now Raja Janaka was only the father of Sita for me. I had seen glimpses of his in books and TV but I never got a chance to read or witness what he was like or how he was as a person or character. This book helped me reach the right spots to discover about human personalities, human limitations and human powers. I wasn’t much aware of Ashtavakra as well. I never even had a glimpse of who he was until this book came into my life. To be honest, this book gave me a new prospectus towards life and how to manage the situations we are caught up into.

The Story

Initially the story seems very dull and monotonous. First few chapters you will feel like let’s keep it aside and maybe read something more exciting but well, that’s the power of this book. It isn’t like any other mythological tale. It is simple yet captivating if you keep on reading it. Set in the era when Raja Janaka ruled the state of Mithila. It is here he meets the Ashtavakra who is finding some answers about his father. He is someone who is ridiculed at the court of Janaka for his mere appearance. But his effective and not aggressive approach to resolve issues draw attention towards him. The king finds his guru in him. He becomes what Janaka was searching. It is a tale of how a human is a human only with compassion, calmness and kindness.

The Plot

A well written and framed tale, this book will help a reader to understand various concepts spoken about in Ashtavakra Gita. The central characters are accomplished in their own reigns but somehow Raja Janaka finds the righteous following from Ashtavakra. He devotes himself to his Guru and later emerges as one of the kindest kings known. Where we all have read about the Ramayana, this book about Raja Janaka brings the most off-beat story ever in front of the readers. It is a showcase of how a young sage helped a king transform himself into a more adaptive and calmer ruler.

The Verdict

I loved the book. I can’y even mention one con about. The characters drawn are splendid. The glory of Mithila is beautifully captured, much like what I saw on TV. The overall tale is gripping and binds the reader with the thought process of Ashtavakra’s. It has rich elements of mythology and at the same time it is not a typical one of the genre too. It is a must read for people who have a different taste in reading. Looking to experiment? or read something fresh? Buy it now!

My words will fail and so will the numbers to rate it but even then I must say its a wonderful 4/5!

Happy Reading!


One response to “Book Review: Janaka and Ashtarvakra – A Journey Beyond by Ashraf Karayath”

  1. Princy Shrivastav Avatar
    Princy Shrivastav

    I am not much into reading mythology, but the review as penned by you, makes it look interesting.


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